An Overview of MIFARE Family

One of the leading brands of contactless IC product known as MIFARE is a sequence of chips that are widely used in proximity cards or in contactless smart cards. This technology is owned by NXP semiconductors, and was spun off from Philips Electronics in the year 2006. MIFARE products including MIFARE cards are proven to be more reliable than any other interface technologies in the market. In fact, all MIFARE products comply with the international standard ISO/IEC, 14443, and are used in more than 80 percent of all contactless smart cards.

Uses of MIFARE

In case of fare collection system, passengers are given MIFARE transit card, who then goes to the automated terminal and uses cash or credit cards to stack value on to the card. This value is stored up in an electronic purse embedded on the card from which the exact fare is deducted every time a passenger boards a bus or a train.

MIFARE card also serves as access card, vending machine debit card, cafeteria debit card, a parking fee card, an ID card due to its potential to store multiple applications on one card.

Two different types of MIFARE contactless smart cards:

MIFARE classic

The family of MIFARE classic contains contactless smart card ICs to be used in public transport, loyalty management, access management and many more to add. MIFARE classic EV1 signifies the highest advancement of the MIFARE classic product family.

Features of MIFARE classic EVI

Ø Available with 1KB and 4 KB memory

Ø Have 7 byte or 4 byte identifiers

Ø Available with true random number generator

Ø With flexible product portfolio, it offers optimized price performance ratio

Ø Minimize infrastructure costs due to card and reader compatibility

Ø Include write endurance 200,000 cycles

Ø Fully compliant with ISO/IEC 14443 Type A 1–3, thereby ensuring a broad marketplace of service providers and solution developers


The family of MIFARE DESFire is based on open global standards for both cryptographic methods and RF interface. The family consists of MIFARE DESFire EV1 and MIFARE DESFire EV2 products. These are ideal for system operators who build consistent, interoperable and scalable contactless smart cards and also for solution developers. This technology targets multi-application smart card solutions for transport ticketing, access control, loyalty and micropayment, road tolling as well as in identity. MIFARE DESFire completely conforms to the requirements for highly secured and fast data transmission, flexible organization of memory and is also interoperable with the current contactless infrastructure.

Features of MIFARE DESFire EV1

Ø Certified with EAL4+ on both software and hardware implementation

Ø Has an on-chip backup management system and mutual three pass authentication

Ø Can hold 28 different applications and 32 files per application

Features of MIFARE DESFire EV2

Ø Have privacy protection

Ø Include flexible file system

Ø Provide communication security

Ø Have selectable cryptographic methods such as AES128, 2KTDES and 3KTDES

Ø Fully compliant with ISO/IEC 14443A (part 1–4) and also uses optional ISO/IEC 7816–4 commands

Ø It is anti-collision

Ø Have stable product portfolio with multiple sourcing at all levels of value chain

Ø Its standard interface ensures that the existing infrastructure can be highly upgraded for more future card ICs